Darlington is set to become the epicentre of biologic innovation after the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) launched its £38 million National Biologics Manufacturing Centre at Central Park in the town.
The new centre provides companies with open-access facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to help them develop, prove and commercialise new and improved processes and technologies for biologics manufacture.
Biopharmaceuticals are medicines produced through biotechnology, which represent the cutting edge of biomedical research. They are delivering significant advances in healthcare with completely new medicines being developed for serious illnesses, including cancer, blood conditions, auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis.
The use of biotechnology can also facilitate the development of the next generation of personalised medicines for specific diseases and patient groups.
The National Biologics Manufacturing Centre was announced in 2012 as part of the Strategy for UK Life Sciences. The strategy outlined a vision for the UK to be a global leader in the life science sector. The £38m investment was made by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills through Innovate UK.
The 5000m2 centre is equipped with 14 laboratories featuring state-of-the-art equipment, including an analytical suite and two Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard labs.
In addition, there is an open-plan lecture theatre and conferencing space and fully equipped office space.
The centre was opened in September by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, and Steve Bagshaw, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.
Launching the centre, Jo Johnson MP said: “We want the UK to be the best place in Europe to innovate, which is why we have invested in this new centre to capitalise on the North East’s expertise in medicines manufacturing and strengthen the UK’s position as a global leader in life sciences. As part of our successful Catapult network, the centre will bridge the gap between business and academia and help to turn great ideas into commercial reality.”
Nigel Perry, CEO of CPI added: “The launch of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics and strengthen the UK’s position as the location of choice for life science companies. This open access facility will enable companies to test and trial new ideas cheaply and quickly with minimised risk, allowing new innovative medicines to reach the market faster and provide improved care for patients and better opportunities for businesses.”
The CPI National Biologics Manufacturing Centre is located at Central Park, 1 Union Place, Darlington, DL1 1GL.